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Title: Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, April 8, 1914
Author: Various
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, April 8, 1914" ***

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PUNCH, OR THE LONDON CHARIVARI


VOL. 146


APRIL 8, 1914.



CHARIVARIA.

     "MR. ASQUITH CLEANS THE SLATE."

_Daily Chronicle._

The pity is that so many of his followers seem to prefer to slate the
clean.

       * * *

Even _The Nation_ is not quite satisfied with the Government, and has
been alluding to "the extreme slackness of Cabinet methods," and
complains that "situations are not thought out beforehand." The
Government, apparently, is now taking the lesson to heart, for _H.M.S.
Foresight_, we read, has now replaced _H.M.S. Pathfinder in_ Belfast
Lough.

       * * *

What the newspapers describe as "An unknown Botticelli" has just been
sold by a celebrated firm of art dealers to an American gentleman, and
it only remains to hope that the painting was not unknown to BOTTICELLI.

       * * *

"A telegram from Toledo," says a contemporary, "reports the theft of
three valuable pictures by the celebrated artist, El Greco." There must
be some mistake here. Anyhow, at the time of his death, a good many
years ago, this gentleman was not under suspicion.

       * * *

The Christian Endeavour Union of Washington, alarmed at the spread of
luxury, has launched a society whose members pledge themselves to wear
no finery during Easter. Those members who hide baldness by means of
elaborate coiffures might carry the idea further by appearing, for one
week only, with heads like Easter eggs.

       * * *

Whether it is due to the Suffrage movement or not it is difficult to
say, but women are undoubtedly coming into their rights by degrees. By
the provisions of the new Bankruptcy Act it is now possible for any
married woman, whether trading apart from her husband or not, to be made
a bankrupt.

       * * *

In connection with the "Kensington Camp Week," when an effort is to be
made to raise sufficient funds to establish and equip headquarters for
the Kensington Reservists, a full-sized elephant has been chartered to
ramble about the principal thoroughfares and collect money for the
cause. To ensure success the sagacious quadruped is to be trained to
step accidentally on the toes of those persons who ignore its appeal.

       * * *

A correspondent writes to _The Observer_ complaining bitterly of the
state of the morass leading to the Aerodrome at Hendon. This gentleman
does not realise that there is a didactic purpose in the cause of his
annoyance. Learn to fly and you will keep your boots clean.

       * * *

[Illustration: _Nut (in car)._ "WHAT'S THAT, KID? 'WHY DON'T I KEEP ON
THE ROAD?' WELL, THE SWEEP MUST BE DEAF--THE BALLY HOOTAH DON'T SHIFT
HIM, AND--WELL, MY DEAR GIRL, THE CAR WAS CLEANED THIS MORNING!"]

       * * *

A man has been sentenced at Barmen, Prussia, on three separate counts to
terms of imprisonment totalling 175 years. It is proposed that all the
proprietors of specifics for prolonging life shall be given a free hand
to enable the prisoner to cope with his sentence.

       * * *

All German actresses, whether married or single, are, in accordance with
the ruling of the German Theatrical Union of Berlin, to be styled
henceforth "Frau Schauspielerin," _i.e._ "Mrs. Actress." We are
confident that this does not mean that those who are not married ought
to be.

       * * *

An advertisement from _The Times_:--"BIG GAME EXPEDITION. Private and
public shooting. Polar bears, musk oxen, walrus and seals arranged."
This is not so easy as it sounds, for, ten to one, as soon as you have
got the beasts arranged one of those plaguey musk oxen will spoil the
whole thing by moving out of its place.

       * * *

A remarkable story is being told of the sagacity of a horse belonging to
Captain WATSON, of Ardow, Mull. It lost a shoe, and, managing to get out
of the field where it was grazing, travelled a considerable distance to
a blacksmith, who was astonished to find the horse standing in front of
the door holding up a fore-leg. The horse was shod, and then--we are
afraid the rest of the story makes ugly reading--coolly galloped off
without paying.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "After the annexation of Alsace by Germany the baron stayed some
     years in Paris, and became an intimate friend of Chopin."

                                                 _Andover Advertiser._

Never realising that CHOPIN had died more than twenty years before.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a beauty specialist's advertisement:--

     "How a poet of such a 'profound subtlety of instinct for the
     absolute expression of absolute natural beauty' as Keats could have
     penned the lines:--

     '_Beauty is Fat, Fat Beauty. That is all Ye know on earth, and all
     ye need to know._'

     must remain one of those unfathomable curiosities of the working of
     the human mind."

We hope the writer hasn't been bothering about it for long. The good
news we have for him--that KEATS didn't--will remove a great weight from
his mind.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The bride's going away costume was of Parma violet cloth, with
     waistcoat effect, in brocaded silk. She wore, also, a large blue
     wolf, the gift of the bridegroom."

     _Newcastle Evening Chronicle._

_Bride_. "Of course, dear, one is bound not to look a gift wolf in the
mouth, but are you _sure_ the large blue ones don't bite?"

       *       *       *       *       *

HOW TO GET ON OFF-HAND.

(_A New Way With Employers._)

The applicant for work is usually thrown into a state of nervous
prostration by the difficulties that beset his task. By a perusal of the
following hints he may learn to acquire an invulnerable calm, and if he
follows the directions given he can reckon on surprising results.

Suppose the application is for clerical work.

When you are shown into the office of the employer he will probably be
engaged with his correspondence. Do not stand meekly in front of him
till he looks up and addresses you. This is playing into his hands.
Instead, be perfectly at your ease. Make yourself at home. You might
ring up one of your acquaintances on the telephone and have a little
chat until the employer is disposed to interview you.

Possibly, however, he himself may be using the instrument. If so draw a
seat to the desk and write any little note you may wish to. You will
find writing materials handy. The stamps are usually kept in one of the
small drawers to the right of the desk.

Either of these proceedings will show that you are used to an office and
will create an impression on the employer. If you look at him you will
see that it has done so.

If he stares at you and continues to stare, say pleasantly, "What a
glorious sky this morning! I believe we are in for a long spell of fine
weather."

At this he will probably grunt out gruffly, "Ugh!"

Sympathise with his tonsils. Recommend any simple remedy of which you
have heard, or point out the advantages of several spots on the Sussex
coast. Ask him where his favourite holiday resort is; whether he goes
there alone or if he is married, and if so how many children he has. Ask
if they are all well at home.

Remember politeness costs nothing.

This method of leading up to business is much better than the old one,
in which you stand and are bullied by a man who has no sort of right
over you except that he has employment to offer and you want it badly.

Therefore converse with him as if he were an equal, though possibly he
may be your inferior.

He may not answer your kind enquiries, but look you up and down from the
welt of your boot to your scarf-pin. All employers have learnt this
method of scrutiny. They have learnt it from their wives.

Should he examine you in this manner, smile agreeably and walk a few
yards to display your profile. Then change the angle and afford him a
back view. Say easily, "This collar fits neatly, does it not?" or
something like that.

Turning, you can show yourself pleased with his own style of dress.

"Excuse my mentioning it," you remark, "but your taste in neck-gear is
exquisite. I have similar ties myself."

This will flatter him, and those men are very susceptible to flattery.
Also he will be led to speculate favourably upon the stylishness and
extent of your wardrobe.

After this interval of mutual admiration you draw a chair to the centre
of the room and say, "I believe you have a vacancy in the office? What
is it you want me to be? I presume you think of still managing the
business yourself? I will gladly listen to your terms and we will
discuss my prospects."

It is now his move. Lean back in your chair and light a cigarette,
regarding him with a reassuring smile.

You will find that he will have listened to you attentively, looking
hard at your face. As you finish he will push his chair back, rise and
strut across the room.

Now is your chance to decide your fate one way or the other.

When he has gone a few steps produce your watch and exclaim in a mildly
vexed tone, "How annoying! I had almost forgotten. I have another
appointment at eleven. In the short time remaining at our disposal it is
impossible to deal adequately with any offer you may make. May I propose
an adjournment?"

The suggestion of independence thus delicately conveyed will usually
have the desired effect and result in an immediate engagement.

Should the employer fail to be impressed he simply pushes the bell and
you are shown off the premises with great promptitude.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "WANTED, strong Willing Girl, age 18, to wait on trained nurses and
     assist third housemaid upstairs."

     _Advt. in "Morning Post."_

We should give the third housemaid one more chance and then, if she
still can't get upstairs without assistance, dismiss her.

       *       *       *       *       *

IN A GOOD CAUSE.

[Illustration]

_To Every Reader of "Punch"._

DEAR READER,--H.R.H. PRINCE ARTHUR OF CONNAUGHT has consented to take
the chair at the Centenary dinner of the Artists' General Benevolent
Institution on May 6th. This Institution devotes itself to the help of
artists who are in need through poverty, sickness or other ill-chance.
As a lover of Art--and, of men--I am in close sympathy with this good
work, and am to be represented at the dinner in the person of my Art
Editor, Mr. F.H. TOWNSEND, who will act as one of the Stewards. I am
appealing to my readers of their kindness to send something to swell his
list, and so to help in making this Centenary a memorable year in the
history of the Artists' General Benevolent Institution. Contributions
addressed to Mr. F.H. TOWNSEND, "Punch" Office, 10, Bouverie Street,
E.C., will be very gratefully acknowledged.

                                Your faithful Servant,
                                                    Punch.

       *       *       *       *       *

Unrest in India.

     "The handwriting appeared to be that of a young school student and
     the word 'Prosecutor' had been spelt 'Prosecutor.' The matter is
     under enquiry."

     "_Statesman_" (_Calcutta_).

It is our earnest hope that this grave business will be sifted to the
bottom.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN EASTER EGG.

THE GREY FOWL. "A LITTLE SUGGESTION THAT I HAVE LAID ON THE TABLE--SO TO
SPEAK."]

[Illustration: _Servant (rebuked for bringing in a dirty cup_). "FUNNY
THING, MUM, I ALWAYS SEEM TO HIT UPON THIS ONE WHEN YOU HAVE COMPANY."]

       *       *       *       *       *

THE MANLY PART.

(_Reflections at the moment of "Moving in."_)

    The house has burst a-bloom like CERES' daughter;
      The painters bicker and the plumbers flee;
    The H. tap in the bathroom gives cold water
        Endlessly, like the C.

    All arts are being used to gild the tarnished,
      And exorcise old ghosts and spirits fled,
    And treacherous quags abound where boards are varnished
        And no man's boot may tread.

    And none can tell me where my spats were taken,
      And decorators' coats adorn the pegs,
    And savour of new paint surrounds the bacon,
        New paint is in the eggs.

    And huge men meet me and remark, "This dresser,
      Where shall we put it?" And of course I say,
    "Up in the bedroom;" and they answer, "Yessir,"
        But Marion bids them stay.

    All right--I'll sit (the sole place where one _can_ sit)
      And gaze upon these walls with wild surmise,
    And muse on all the things we've lost in transit,
        The socks, the gloves, the ties.

    Here, where in time to come the firebeams ruddy,
      Falling on cosy chairs and bookshelves straight,
    Shall show to me my own familiar study,
        And Maud shall do the grate,

    Here in this narrow carpet's sacred border,
      Girt by the wet distemper's weltering foam,
    I'll do my bit to set the house in order
        And make it seem like home.

    Mere hackwork, doubtless, is the stuff for women,
      But mine to dissipate the dark has-been,
    Mine to remove what shades are clustered dim in
        Corners and coigns unseen;

    To start the holiest rite of installation,
      And from the still-remembering walls to wipe
    All traces of a previous occupation--
        Briefly, to light my pipe.

    Paint is no hall-mark of a decent dwelling,
      And moving furniture makes such a din;
    The master's part shall be the ghost-dispelling--
        That is where he comes in.

    Forget not, while ye tramp with tread sonorous
      The unclothed stairs and catch my weed's perfume,
    That three mild spinsters had the house before us;
        This was their morning-room.

                                               EVOE.

       *       *       *       *       *

A quotation in _The Edinburgh Evening Dispatch_ of a verse of Mr. ROBERT
BRIDGES' new poem ends like this:--


    "From numbing stress and gloom profound
    Madest escape in life desirous
          To embroider her thin-spun robe."

       *       *       *       *       *

           [PARAGRAPH ADVERTISEMENT.]

               'WHO'S THE LADY?'"

Perhaps the POET LAUREATE will answer.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE BOOK-BUYER.

There was plenty to eat, the landlord said, if the commercial gentlemen
made no objection to my joining their table; and such objection was very
unlikely, since nicer gentlemen you couldn't hope to meet.

He then went off to put the point to them, and they seem to have been
very charming about it, judging by the cordiality and courtesy of the
welcome which I received. Being, however, at the end of the table, I had
but one neighbour, and he not a very communicative one, for, although he
did at once lay down his knife and fork to tell me that the beef came
from Scotland and was therefore more to be desired than the mutton,
which was local, he said no more, and I was therefore left to eat in
silence, my two _vis-à-vis_ being engaged in a private conversation.
Such little as from time to time I heard among the others was not much
in my line, dealing as it did either with horses, Ulster, or Mexico; but
suddenly a big man with a purple face and a signet ring as large as a
carriage lamp plunged me into curiosity by remarking that he "never
bought less than three two-shilling books a week, and sometimes four."

These being the last words I should have expected from him, for he
looked absolutely the type that reads only a half-penny daily and a
sporting sheet and puts in the rest of its leisure at gossip or cards,
and as I am interested in people's taste in literature, I determined to
improve his acquaintance and discover something as to his favourite
authors; and again, as I made this resolve, I realised how foolish it is
ever to expect the outside of a man to be any index of his mind. One
never can tell, and one is always having further proof that one never
can tell, and yet one goes on trying to tell.

Studying him in a series of glances, I set him down for a NAT GOULD man.

The arrival of coffee and the departure of certain guests (wisely, as it
happened,) who did not want that curious beverage, relaxed the table,
and I moved up to the brave buyer of books. He received me affably, and
we exchanged a few remarks on those ice-breaking matters of no
importance upon which real convictions are not expected. Then, with a
deft touch, I turned the talk to literature. "I suppose," I said, "with
your long journeys you get plenty of time for reading?"

"Time enough," he said.

I continued by a reference to the advantages which we enjoyed over our
fathers and grandfathers in the multiplicity of cheap books. "Those
wonderful sevenpennies!" I said.

He agreed. He had often spent ten minutes at a junction in looking at
them.

"And the shilling books," I said. "The more serious ones--'Everyman's
Library,' and all that sort of thing. Most remarkable!"

He had noticed those too, but still he offered no views of his own.

I saw that he was one of the uncommunicative kind. Information must be
drawn forcibly from him.

"And the two-shilling novels," I said--"they're wonderful too."

I But his eyes did not light; his I purple mask kept its secrets.

"The two-shilling ones," I repeated, with emphasis on the price. Hang
it, how slow he was.

Still he said nothing.

"So much better than the old yellowbacks at that figure," I said.

He was, if anything, more silent.

Clearly I must plunge. "Who is your favourite writer?" I demanded,
point-blank.

"I haven't got such a thing," he said.

Here's a strange thing, I thought. I suppose he's one of those
mechanical readers who go through a book as a kind of dutiful pastime
and never even notice the author's name.

"But you read a lot?" I suggested.

"Me? Good gracious, no," he said. "I don't read a book from one year's
end to the other. Papers--oh, yes; but not books."

I was staggered.

"But I thought," I said, "that I heard you say a little while ago that
you never bought fewer than three two-shilling books a week, and
sometimes more?"

His purple took on a darker richer shade, which I subsequently
discovered indicated the approach of mirth. He began to make strange
noises, which in time I found meant laughter.

For a while he gave himself up to chromatic rumblings. At last, able to
speak, he replied to me. "So I did say," he said; "so I did say I bought
three two-shilling books a week. But not books to read"--here he became
momentarily inarticulate again--"not books to read, but those little
two-shilling books of stamps in red covers that you get at the
post-office. I don't know where I should be without them."

Shade of CARNEGIE!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Injured Party (who has just been turned out of a
public-house, explaining his little grievance_). "NOW, WHAT D'YOU SHAY,
CONSHABLE? D'YOU THINK I'M INTOXICATED?"

_Constable._ "YES, I SHOULD CERTAINLY SAY YOU WERE."

_Injured Party._ "WELL, I'M QUITE WILLING TO BE _ANALYSED_."]

       *       *       *       *       *

Musical Criticism.

     "Sir John French had stultified himself singing the order."--_Irish
     Independent._

Personally we sing it over to ourselves in the bath every morning--all
except the last two paragraphs.

       *       *       *       *       *

Messrs. BELL quote the following appreciative notice of one of their
spelling books:--

     "The spelling exercises, largely alliterative--e.g., 'A Beach-tree,
     a sandy beach'--are quite attractive, and once in the mind remain
     there."--_School Guardian._

This attractive way of spelling "beech-tree" will not, we hope, remain
indefinitely in the minds of our readers.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _First Clubman._ "WELL, HOW ARE YOU?"

_Second Clubman._ "ER--SO-SO, PERHAPS. LAST WEEK I THOUGHT I WAS IN FOR
RHEUMATIC FEVER, BUT JUST MANAGED TO STAVE IT OFF, AND TO-DAY A TWINGE
IN MY LEFT SHOULDER SUGGESTS--WELL, IT MAY BE NEURITIS OR----"

_First Clubman._ "MY DEAR CHAP, I DIDN'T MEAN IT _LITERALLY_."]

       *       *       *       *       *

LIBERALS DAY BY DAY.

_March 23._--During the course of a heated debate Mr. Joshua Dredgwood,
M.P., said that, in spite of the Parliament Act, the House of Lords
still dominated the situation. If there was a General Election next week
it would be fought on a cry of the Proletariat against the Peers. The
entire Liberal Party rose to its feet and cheered the speaker for seven
minutes, waving hats, order papers and pocket-handkerchiefs.

_March 24._--Answering a question put by Mr. Connor Shaw, the PREMIER
stated that he had decided to retire from the House of Commons and lead
the Party from the House of Lords. The entire Liberal Party was
convulsed with irrepressible enthusiasm and cheered the PREMIER'S
announcement for nine minutes, many Members removing their collars and
ties and waving them in delirious excitement.

_March 25._--A reference to the Welsh Church Bill by a member of the
Opposition elicited an epoch-making remark from Mr. Haydn Tooth, M.P. He
said that the English Church blocked every measure of social reform so
effectually that unless it was immediately disestablished and every
archbishop and bishop deported to the Antarctic regions civil war would
break out in a week. All records were broken by the Liberal Party, who
rose as one man and cheered Mr. Tooth's declaration for ten minutes,
many Members standing on their heads and waving their legs with
epileptic fervour.

_March 26._--Immediately after Question time the PRIME MINISTER asked to
be allowed to make a brief statement. Amid profound silence he stated
that he had decided, with the cordial approval of his colleagues, to
create a new Ministry of Public Worship, to be held by the Archbishop of
CANTERBURY, and that he would himself assume the archbishopric on the
following day. The frenzied delight of the entire Liberal Party on
hearing this momentous announcement beggars description. The cheering
lasted fifteen minutes, and when the vocal chords of the Members were
exhausted by the strain they rolled about on the floor of the House for
nearly half-an-hour.

_March 27._--A tremendous impression was created by Mr. James Board, the
Labour Member, during the discussion of the Plumage Bill. After
observing that fine feathers might make fine birds he went on to say
that lawn sleeves were no palliation of the assumption of dictatorial
and autocratic powers. The entire Liberal Party cheered the statement
for twenty minutes, and then continued the demonstration with
mouth-organs and megaphones for close upon an hour and a-half.

_March 30._--The PREMIER, bidding farewell to the House of Commons,
announced that he had with infinite regret accepted his own resignation
of the Archbishopric of Canterbury, and would in future be known as
Super-Archimandrite of the Isle of Man. The entire Liberal Party were
still cheering the announcement when we went to press.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Wanted, for country house, a good ODD MAN, more outside than
     inside."

                                            _Advt. in "Guardian"._

The oddness of one's outside is, of course, more apparent.

       *       *       *       *       *

ORANGES AND LEMONS.

V.--THE GAMESTERS.

"It's about time," said Simpson one evening, "that we went to the tables
and--er----" (he adjusted his spectacles)--"had a little flutter."

We all looked at him in silent admiration.

"Oh, Samuel," sighed Myra, "and I promised your aunt that you shouldn't
gamble while you were away."

"But, my dear Myra, it's the first thing the fellows at the club ask you
when you've been to the Riviera--if you've had any luck."

"Well, you've had a lot of luck," said Archie. "Several times when
you've been standing on the heights and calling attention to the
beautiful view below I've said to myself, 'One push, and he's a deader,'
but something, some mysterious agency within, has kept me back."

"All the fellows at the club----"

Simpson is popularly supposed to belong to a Fleet Street Toilet and
Hairdressing Club, where for three guineas a year he gets shaved every
day, and his hair cut whenever Myra insists. On the many occasions when
he authorises a startling story of some well-known statesman with the
words: "My dear old chap, I know it for a fact. I heard it at the club
to-day from a friend of his," then we know that once again the barber's
assistant has been gossiping over the lather.

"Do think, Samuel," I interrupted, "how much more splendid if you could
be the only man who had seen Monte Carlo without going inside the rooms.
And then when the hairdress--when your friends at the club ask if you've
had any luck at the tables you just say coldly, 'What tables?'"

"Preferably in Latin," said Archie. "_Quae mensæ?_"

But it was obviously no good arguing with him. Besides, we were all keen
enough to go.

"We needn't lose," said Myra. "We might win."

"Good idea," said Thomas. He lit his pipe and added, "Simpson was
telling me about his system last night. At least, he was just beginning
when I went to sleep." He applied another match to his pipe and went on,
as if the idea had suddenly struck him, "Perhaps it was only his
internal system he meant. I didn't wait."

"Samuel, you _are_ quite well inside, aren't you?"

"Quite, Myra. But I _have_ invented a sort of system for _roulette_,
which we might----"

"There's only one system which is any good," pronounced Archie. "It's
the system by which, when you've lost all your own money, you turn to
the man next to you and say, 'Lend me a louis, dear old chap, till
Christmas; I've forgotten my purse.'"

"No systems," said Dahlia. "Let's make a collection and put it all on
one number and hope it will win."

Dahlia had obviously been reading novels about people who break the
bank.

"It's as good a way of losing as any other," said Archie. "Let's do it
for our first gamble, anyway. Simpson, as our host, shall put the money
on. I, as his oldest friend, shall watch him to see that he does it.
What's the number to be?"

We all thought hard for several moments.

"Samuel, what's your age?" asked Myra at last.

"Right off the board," said Thomas.

"You're not really more than thirty-six?" Myra whispered to him. "Tell
me as a secret."

"Peter's nearly two," said Dahlia.

"Do you think you could nearly put our money on 'two'?" asked Archie.

"I once made seventeen," I said. "On that never-to-be-forgotten day when
I went in first with Archie----"

"That settles it. Here's to the highest score of The Rabbits'
wicket-keeper. To-morrow afternoon we put our money on seventeen.
Simpson, you have between now and 3.30 to-morrow to perfect your French
delivery of the magic word _dix-sept_."

I went to bed a proud but anxious man that night. It was _my_ famous
score which had decided the figure that was to bring us fortune ... and
yet ... and yet ...

Suppose eighteen turned up? The remorse, the bitterness! "If only," I
should tell myself--"if only we had run three instead of two for that
cut to square-leg!" Suppose it were sixteen! "Why, oh why," I should
groan, "did I make the scorer put that bye down as a hit?" Suppose it
wore thirty-four! But there my responsibility ended ... If it were going
to be thirty-four, they should have used one of Archie's scores, and
made a good job of it.

At 3.30 next day we were in the fatal building. I should like to pause
here and describe my costume to you, which was a quiet grey in the best
of taste, but Myra says that if I do this I must describe hers too, a
feat beyond me. Sufficient that she looked dazzling, that as a party we
were remarkably well-dressed, and that Simpson--murmuring "_dix-sept_"
to himself at intervals--led the way through the rooms till he found a
table to his liking.

"Aren't you excited?" whispered Myra to me.

"Frightfully," I said, and left my mouth well open.

I don't quite know what picture of the event Myra and I had conjured up
in our minds, but I fancy it was one something like this. At the
entrance into the rooms of such a large and obviously distinguished
party there would be a slight sensation among the crowd, and way would
be made for us at the most important table. It would then leak out that
Chevalier Simpson--the tall poetical-looking gentleman in the middle, my
dear--had brought with him no less a sum than thirty francs with which
to break the bank, and that he proposed to do this in one daring _coup_.
At this news the players at the other tables would hastily leave their
winnings (or losings) and crowd round us. Chevalier Simpson, pale but
controlled, would then place his money on seventeen--"_dix-sept_," he
would say to the croupier to make it quite clear--and the ball would be
spun. As it slowed down the tension in the crowd would increase. "_Mon
Dieu_!" a woman would cry in a shrill voice; there, would be guttural
exclamations from Germans; at the edge of the crowd strong men would
swoon. At last a sudden shriek ... and the croupier's voice, trembling
for the first time for thirty years, "_Dix-sept!_" Then gold and notes
would be pushed at the Chevalier. He would stuff his pockets with them;
he would fill his hat with them; we others, we would stuff our pockets
too. The bank would send out for more money. There would be loud cheers
from all the company (with the exception of one man, who had put five
francs on sixteen and had shot himself) and we should be carried--that
is to say, we four men--shoulder high to the door, while by the deserted
table Myra and Dahlia clung to each other weeping tears of happiness ...

Something like that.

What happened was different. As far as I could follow, it was this. Over
the heads of an enormous, badly-dressed and utterly indifferent crowd
Simpson handed his thirty francs to the croupier.

"_Dix-sept_," he said.

The croupier with his rake pushed the money on to seventeen.

Another croupier with his rake pulled it off again ... and stuck to it.

The day's fun was over.

       *       *       *       *       *

"What _did_ win?" asked Myra some minutes later, when the fact that we
should never see our money again had been brought home to her.

"Zero," said Archie.

I sighed heavily.

"My usual score," I said, "not my highest."

  A. A. M.

       *       *       *       *       *

THE SUPER-STORES.

(_At a well-known Universal Emporium several Champions have been engaged
to demonstrate the art of golf in the Games Department._)

[Illustration: SIR GREGORY PILLKINGTON M.D., F.R.C.P., ETC., ETC., WILL
BE IN ATTENDANCE IN THE DRUG DEPARTMENT, WHERE ALL CUSTOMERS MAY EXHIBIT
THEIR TONGUES FREE OF CHARGE.]

[Illustration: IN THE ART DEPARTMENT, SIR WILLIAM DAUBER, R.A., WILL
GIVE A DEMONSTRATION ON THE LAYING ON OF COLOUR TO EVERY PURCHASER OF A
SIXPENNY BOX OF PAINTS.]

[Illustration: A SPECIAL LINE OP DANCING PUMPS IN THE BOOT DEPARTMENT.
_Shopman._ "I THINK YOU'LL FIND THEM FIT, SIR, WHEN THE FOOT HAS WORKED
DOWN INTO THEM. WILL YOU TRY A TURN, SIR? MADAME PAVLOVINA, FORWARD,
PLEASE!"]

[Illustration: A SPECIAL FEATURE OF THE GENT'S READY-TO-WEAR CLOTHING
DEPARTMENT WILL BE THE ATTENDANCE, DAILY, OF A SUPER-"NUT" (FROM THE
GAIETY OR DALY'S), WHO WILL GIVE FREE ADVICE TO EACH PURCHASER OF EASTER
OUTFITS.]

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Golfer (who has just been run over_). "GEE! WHAT LUCK!
THAT WAS A NEAR THING. THEY MIGHT HAVE BROKEN MY PET CLEEK."]

       *       *       *       *       *

BALLAD OF THE WATCHFUL EYE.

     ["In this crisis the best we can do is to keep our eye on Mr.
     Asquith."--"_The Daily Chronicle's" report of Lord SAYE AND SELE at
     Worthing._]

    O keep your eye on DAVID,
      The demigod of Wales,
    Before whose furious onset
      Dukes turn their timid tails;
    Whom Merioneth mystics
    Praise in delirious distichs,
    And matched with whose statistics
      MUNCHAUSEN'S glory pales.

    O keep your eye on WINSTON,
      And mind you keep it tight,
    For nearly every Saturday
      You'll find he takes to flight;
    Now eloquent and thrilling,
    Now simply cheap and filling,
    And now bent on distilling
      The purest Party spite.

    O keep your eye on HALDANE,
      Ex-Minister of War,
    The sleek and supple-minded
      And suave Lord Chancellor,
    Whose brain, so keen and subtle,
    Moves swifter than a shuttle,
    Obscuring, like the cuttle,
      Things that were plain before.

    O keep your eye on MORLEY
      (Well-known as "Honest John"),
    The peccant paragrapher
      Who still is holding on;
    But, though his strange position
    Excited some suspicion,
    We've CURZON'S frank admission
      Of joy he hasn't gone.

    O keep your eye on LULU
      Who Greater Britain sways
    From distant Woolloomooloo
      To Nova Scotia's bays;
    Whose sumptuous urbanity,
    Combined with well-groomed sanity
    And freedom from profanity,
    Stirs DAVID'S deep amaze.

    O keep your eye on BIRRELL,
      So wholly free from guile,
    Conspicuous by his absence
      From Erin's peaceful isle;
    Who wakes from floor to rafter
    The House to heedless laughter,
    Careless of what comes after
      Can he but raise a smile.

    O keep your eye on MASTERMAN,
      Dear DAVID'S henchman leal,
    Whose piety and "uplift"
      Make ribald Tories squeal;
    In every public function
    Displaying the conjunction
    Of perfect moral unction
      With perfect Party zeal.

    Last, keep your eye on ASQUITH,
      And he will bring you through,
    No matter what his colleagues
      May say or think or do;
    For in the dirtiest weather
    He moulted not a feather,
    And safely kept together
      His variegated crow.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Siamese Twin.

     "DERBYSHIRE.--To sell, handsome well-built and superbly finished
     semi-detached Mouse, containing two entertaining, six bed rooms,
     dressing-room, and excellent bathroom."--_Advt. in "Manchester
     Guardian"._

We had no idea a mouse had so much accommodation.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "It was our intention before now to say a kindly word for 'The New
     Weekly.' We trust we are not too late yet."

                                                _Westminster Gazette._

No. The paper after three weeks or so is still alive. But our green
contemporary should have had more confidence in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN ASQUITH TO THE RESCUE!

WAR MINISTER (_to PREMIER_). "HOLD TIGHT! I'LL SEE YOU THROUGH."]

       *       *       *       *       *

ESSENCE OF PARLIAMENT.

(EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF TOBY, M.P.)

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: THE NEW "DEMOCRATISED" ARMY.

Certain officers having been guilty of the heinous offence of choosing
one of two alternatives offered them by their superiors, it is now
proposed to remodel our military system on democratic lines so as to
leave no room for suspicion of political bias.

[Major RAMSAY MACDONALD, Field-Marshal the Baron BYLES OF BRADFORD,
Lieut.-Col. Sir J. BRUNNER, Capt. JOHN WARD and Col. KEIR HARDIE.]]

       *       *       *       *       *

_House of Commons, Monday, March 30._--Stirring quarter of an hour. For
dramatic surprise Drury Lane or Sadlers Wells in palmiest days not in it
with T. R. Westminster. Doors open as usual at 2.45. In a few minutes
there was standing room only. Appointed business of sitting Third
Reading of Consolidated Fund Bill. Peculiarity of this measure is that
through successive stages, each occupying a full sitting, no one even
distantly alludes to its existence or provisions. Any other subject
under the sun may, and is, talked around at length. To-day expected
that opportunity would be seized by Opposition to make fresh attack on
Government in respect of the Curragh affair and all it led to. Hence the
crowded benches and prevalent expectation of a scrimmage.

A cloud of questions addressed to PRIME MINISTER answered with that
directness and brevity that mark his share in the conversation.
Questions on Paper disposed of, LEADER OF OPPOSITION asked whether Sir
JOHN FRENCH and Sir SPENCER EWART had withdrawn their resignation?
Answering in the negative, the PREMIER paid high tribute to the ability,
loyalty and devotion to duty with which the gallant officers have served
the Army and the State. He added, what was regarded as foregone
conclusion, that SECRETARY OF STATE FOR WAR had thought it right to
press his proffered resignation.

Here it seemed was end of statement. Members expected to see PREMIER
resume his seat. He continued in the same level businesslike tone:--

"In the circumstances, after much consideration, with not a little
reluctance, I have felt it my duty, for the time at any rate, to assume
the office of Secretary of State for War."

There followed a moment of silence. Effect of announcement, unexpected,
momentous, was stupefying. Then a cheer, strident, almost savage in its
passion, burst from serried ranks of Ministerialists. One leaped up and
waved a copy of Orders of the Day. In an instant all were on their feet
wildly cheering.

Meanwhile the PREMIER, apparently impassive, stood silent at the Table.
When storm exhausted itself he quietly added that in accordance with law
he would forthwith retire from the House "until, if it pleases them, my
constituents sanction my return."

Demonstration of personal esteem and political approval repeated when, a
few moments later, he walked out behind SPEAKER'S Chair. Again the
Liberals, now joined by Irish Nationalists, uprose, madly cheering.

Following upon this unprecedented scene, SEELY'S personal statement
inevitably partook of character of anticlimax. Entering while Questions
were going forward, he passed the Treasury bench, where he had no longer
right to sit, and turned up the Gangway, to find every seat occupied. He
stood for a moment irresolute. CUTHBERT WASON, who has permanently
appropriated third corner seat above Gangway (and portion of one
adjoining), courteously made room for the ex-Minister.

SEELY'S brief statement, dignified in its simplicity, unexceptional in
its good taste, listened to by both sides with evident sympathy. During
two years' administration of War Office affairs, he has by
straightforwardness, urbanity, and display of perfect command of his
subject, increased the personal popularity enjoyed whilst he was yet a
private Member.

_Business done._--Resignation by Colonel SEELY of War Office portfolio
announced. PRIME MINISTER takes it in personal charge.

_House of Lords, Tuesday._--During last two days noble Lords been
delighted with little by-play provided by Lord CURZON. Yesterday, he by
severe cross-examination extracted from Lord MORLEY admission of
personal knowledge of what are known as the peccant paragraphs in
document handed on behalf of War Office to General GOUGH.

What troubled CURZON was apprehension that such admission must
necessarily be followed by resignation. Regretted this for dual reason.
First, House would be deprived of presence of esteemed Viscount on
Ministerial bench. Secondly, and to the generous mind this consideration
even more poignant, the secession of a Minister so highly prized would
in present circumstances strike heavy blow at Government. Might even
lead to break up of Ministry, dissolution of Parliament, destruction of
Home Rule and Welsh Church Bills.

Under cross-examination MORLEY, whilst making clean breast of his share
in incident that led to resignation of WAR MINISTER, said never a word
about possibility, or otherwise, of his own retirement. CURZON'S
generous alarm deepened. Better know the worst if it were lurking in the
background.

"How comes it," he asked, "if the Government felt compelled to withdraw
these paragraphs, and if the SECRETARY FOR WAR resigned, that we still
have the good fortune to see the noble Viscount in charge of the
Government bench?"

"The latter point," said MORLEY, "will be answered more or less
satisfactorily to-morrow."

CURZON went home in state of profound depression. MORLEY, regardless of
the comfort, even the safety, of his colleagues in the Cabinet,
evidently meant resignation. Came down to-day, his ingenuous countenance
exhibiting signs of passage through an unrestful night.

"But," as he quaintly remarked to commiserating friend, "better have the
tooth out at once."

Up again at first opportunity. Still harping on the Viscount.

"It is rather difficult to see," he remarked, "why, the SECRETARY FOR
WAR having handed in his first resignation, we should still have been
favoured with the continuance in office of the noble Viscount.... The
upshot of the incident is that Colonel SEELY has gone, while I hope the
noble Viscount is going to remain."

Appeal irresistible. In response MORLEY explained that had SEELY
persisted in his first resignation his would have followed. When it came
to SEELY'S second resignation he felt bound to remain.

Distinction subtle. Possibly it was effect of wrestling with it that
made CURZON look less joyous than might have been expected, seeing he
had realised his disinterested hope, and a second, even more damaging,
secession from a stricken Cabinet had been averted.

[Illustration: Lord CURZON (_to Lord MORLEY_). "Must you go? Can't you
stay?"]

_Business done._--In the Commons debate on Second Reading of Home Rule
Bill resumed. Atmosphere significantly less stormy than heretofore.

_House of Commons, Thursday._--The MEMBER FOR SARK, in pursuance of his
favourite axiom that there is nothing new under the sun, calls attention
to two conversations in which he discovers singularly close parallel in
tone and temper. The first will be found in official report of
Parliamentary debate. It took place between LEADER OF OPPOSITION and
FIRST LORD OF ADMIRALTY, the former insistent upon House being made
acquainted with Sir ARTHUR PAGET'S report of what happened when he
addressed officers under his command at Curragh on possibility of their
being ordered to Ulster.

Here follows excerpt from official report:--

"_Mr. CHURCHILL._ The statement just made I make after having had an
opportunity of communicating with Sir Arthur Paget. It is admitted that
a misunderstanding on the point arose.

_Mr. BONAR LAW._ Rubbish.

_Mr. CHURCHILL._ Do I understand the right hon. gentleman to say
'rubbish'?

_Mr. BONAR LAW._ Yes."

The parallel that pleases SARK will be found in report of a conversation
between _Mrs. Gamp_ and _Mrs. Betsey Prig_ at what should have been a
friendly tea-table in the home of the former. This was the historic
occasion when _Mrs. Prig_ declared her rooted belief in the
non-existence of _Mrs. Gamp's_ friend _Mrs. Harris_. For purpose of
comparison it may be convenient to put what followed in the same form as
official Parliamentary report:--

_Mrs. Gamp._ What! you bago creetur, have I know'd Mrs. Harris
five-and-thirty year, to be told at last that there ain't no sech a
person livin'! Go along with you!

_Mrs. Prig._ I'm agoin', Ma'am, aint I?

_Mrs. Gamp._ You had better, Ma'am!

_Mrs. Prig._ Do you know who you're talking to, Ma'am?

_Mrs. Gamp._ Aperiently to Betsey Prig.

_Business done._--Third night's debate on Second Reading of Home Rule
Bill. Intended to divide. On urgent demand of Opposition division
deferred till Monday.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Then came the resignation of Mr. Asquith, which left the Ministry
     (temporarily) without its head. Hence another vacant seal in the
     Government Front Bench."--_Globe._

To prevent self-consciousness among the Cabinet, the name of the
Minister who looks like a vacant seal should be given.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Mr. Bodkin, opening the case, described Hemmerde for the defence."

                                         _North Eastern Daily Gazette._

It is generally towards the end of a case that one wants to describe the
opposing counsel in detail.

       *       *       *       *       *

PROOF

ADDRESSED TO A LADY WHO HAS ASKED FOR IT.

    Of old, when in the dance's-whirl
      Or crouched behind a friendly screen
    I fell in love with any girl
      (You know the kind of love I mean),
    I gave the credit to champagne--
        And breathed again.

    When first we met, a more intense
      Emotion stirred me, I admit,
    But having dined at great expense
      I didn't like to mention it,
    For tribute seemed to Bacchus due
        As much as you.

    But love that made a parish hop
      A sacred feast for both of us
    Burst into flame without a drop
      Of alcoholic stimulus;
    And love that thrives on lemonade
        Can never fade.

       *       *       *       *       *

REVERSIBLE RHETORIC.

(_Being the unsigned MS., evidently of a leading article, picked up in
Fleet Street last week. What the finder wants to know is--which side is
it arguing for?_)

THE PLOT THAT FAILED.

Out of the welter of mendacity, evasions and intrigue, for a parallel to
which the records of this or indeed of any civilised country might be
searched in vain, one fact has at last emerged clear and indisputable.
The nation will learn this morning, with what feelings it is only too
easy to conjecture, that a great party, a party which, despite its many
political blunders, has at least a record for honourable if mistaken
statesmanship in the past, has now stooped to the final and abysmal
folly. Disguise the fact with what specious rhetoric they may, the truth
remains that our opponents have deliberately endeavoured to tamper with
a great national possession, and to make the British Army a tool in the
game of party.

Incredible, nay unthinkable, as such a situation would have been till
lately, who is now to deny it? If any doubt still remained, surely the
venomous outpourings of those journals which support and encourage the
machinations of "honourable gentlemen"--alas that the phrase should
henceforth have to be in quotation marks!--on the opposite side of the
House must by now have dispelled it. Beaten to their last ditch, and
discredited even in that, it is now evident that the conspirators had
determined to stake all upon one final throw. Fortunately the very
desperateness of the plot has proved its undoing, and from the tremulous
lips of the perpetrators themselves comes to-day a froth of vituperation
and rancorous abuse that is the surest confession of abject failure.

Happily, however, there is a brighter side to the picture; signs are not
wanting--and each hour, we are sure, will strengthen them--that moderate
men in the ranks of our opponents are beginning to share our own
indignation and dismay. Let but this spirit find its outlet and victory
is ours. We say it in no petty strain of party triumph, but the day of
reckoning can obviously no longer be delayed. A gang of wholly reckless
and unscrupulous political adventurers have sown the dragon's teeth in
the wind; let the whole nation see to it that they are now forced to
reap armed men in the whirlwind!

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: AN ECHO OF SHOW SUNDAY.

(_Proving that a humorist is never allowed to be serious._)

_Visitor (after studying well-known humorous artist's classical Academy
picture)._ "DELIGHTFULLY COMIC. TELL ME, WHAT IS THE JOKE TO THIS ONE?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Many a man whose courage would not respond to the spur of some
     huge burglar would die rather than be beaten by a wretched little
     collar stud."--_Times._

The only burglar we have ever met was (luckily) in the Infantry.

       *       *       *       *       *

AT THE PLAY.

"THINGS WE'D LIKE TO KNOW."

Almost the last thing that you expect in a starting-price bookie is a
strong penchant for poetry. It is true that I have before me, as I
write, a Turf Commissioner's telegraphic code which contains some rather
picturesque symbols. Thus "amber" is the codeword for £1; "heliotrope"
for £20; "rainbow" for "win and 1, 2." Still I do not think it probable
that if the author of this code should go bankrupt as a bookie--and this
he is never likely to do as far as I am concerned--he would be able to
retrieve his fortunes by taking up the profession of a publisher of
poetical works. Yet this is just what happened, in Mr. MONCKTON HOFFE'S
play, with the firm of _Wilberforce Brothers_, Turf Commissioners. In
the first Act we find them in such straits that they can barely scrape
together enough petty cash to satisfy the demands of a Water-Rate
Collector, insistent on the door-step. In the next Act, a year later,
they are all flourishing like green bay-trees as a firm of Poetry
Commissioners trading under the name of _The Lotus Publishing Company_.
This amazing result they have achieved by foisting on the office
typewriter--_trés gamine_--the poetical output of one of their own
number, and exploiting her as a prodigy under the auspices of a patron
of the arts--one _Lord Glandeville_. How this Mæcenas, this connoisseur
in taste, was ever imposed upon by the masquerading of such incredible
types, and how they could have amassed all that wealth by the
publication of serious poetry, the most notorious of drugs on the
market--these are among the "things" that we should all "like to know"
in case our own professions should fail us.

What worried me most was that Mr. HOFFE should have so poor an idea of
my intelligence as to suppose it possible to impart an atmosphere of
probability to a scheme that was pure farce. Yet that was what he tried
to do; he wanted me to believe that I was assisting at a comedy. There
was no knockabout business; nobody entered the room with a somersault,
tripped over a pin or hung his hat on the scenery. They all behaved as
if they were presenting us with what is known as a human document, to be
regarded _au grand_ (or, at worst, _au petit_) _sérieux_. The fun--and
there were some very pleasant touches--was not so much the fun of a huge
and preposterous joke, but rather the humour of character or incidental
detail. The part of _Lord Glandeville_, who might have been made the
most ridiculous butt of imposture, was treated quite solemnly. Indeed,
our sympathies were provoked for a man whose finest instincts had been
trifled with; who had been suffered to fall in love with the poet-soul
of a girl only to find that she was the tool of a gang of rogues. One of
them, _Dick Gilder_, might tell him that he (_Glandeville_) was an
egoist and that he ought to have fallen in love with the girl's body, as
he (_Gilder_) had done, instead of her supposed soul; but that did not
help matters much, or prevent our feeling that this treatment of
_Glandeville_ was no matter for laughter. And when I go and see a
production of Mr. HAWTREY'S I want matter for laughter and nothing else.

The best individual performances were those of Mr. LYSTON LYLE--really
excellent as a soldier of fortune--and Miss HELEN HAYE as _Lord
Glandeville's_ aunt who lays herself out to defeat the matrimonial
designs of the prodigy. Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY was not perhaps at his very
best as _Dick Gilder._ He wore an air of detachment and indulged his old
habit of looking over the heads of his stage-audience. He had too many
set speeches and was not always quite sure what word came next. Still
his mere presence is always irresistible.

As _Lord Glandeville_, Mr. VANE TEMPEST, most admirable of buffoons,
must have longed to be allowed to make us laugh, but solemnity was his
order of the day and he carried it out like a hero. As for Mr. WENMAN,
who played the partner that introduced _Lord Glandeville_ to the rest of
the "Lotus Publishing Company" (though how that refined nobleman ever
made the acquaintance of such a rough diamond is another of the "things
we'd like to know"), his face is a gift and he used its mobility to good
purpose.

Finally, Miss DOROTHY MINTO, as _Dorothy Gedge_, typewriter (with the
_nom de guerre_ of _Gedage_), was a little angular, and the motive of
her spasmodic excursions across the stage was not always apparent. But
she was extremely funny in her inimitable way when she had a chance of
exhibiting the unreasonableness of her selection as a mouthpiece of the
Muses. At the end, when she wonders if she could have been happy with
_Glandeville_ and knows that she would be happy with _Gilder_, she
showed an extremely pretty vein of sentiment. And here, too, I must
heartily compliment the author on a scene which threatened to be
commonplace and tedious, but was handled with a most engaging freshness
and a very unusual sense of what was just right and enough.

                                                              O. S.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: POETRY COMMISSION-AGENTS FINDING A BACKER.

  _Lord Giandeville_        Mr. VANE-TEMPEST.
  _Brabazon Todd_           Mr. HENRY WENMAN.
  _Richard Gilder_          Mr. CHARLES HAWTREY.]

       *       *       *       *       *

_ARGUMENTUM AD FEMINAM._

    Once, unless the tale's a myth,
      Chloe danced mid rustic song
    Indefatigably with
      Amorous Damon all day long.
    This was all the joy she knew
      (Quite enough, no doubt), and yet,
    Phyllis, when _you_ gambol, _you_
      Rather gamble at roulette.

    Simple 'twas in suchlike days
      Wooing Chloe. Now, alas,
    _You_'ve no taste for simple ways,
      Much prefer green baize to grass.
    Fled your interest in swains;
      Nothing for my sighs you care;
    All your joy is little trains,
      Oddly dubbed "chemin de fer."

    Phyllis, if your fixed intent
      Is that you forsake the dance,
    Quit Arcadian merriment
      For exciting games of chance,
    I've the best of 'em by heaps:
      Come with me, my dear, and call
    At the Registrar's; he keeps
      One big gamble worth them all.

       *       *       *       *       *

CON.

    Con was the conjurer of the king
      Ere the coming of Padraig Mor,
    And a wand he had, and a golden ring,
      And a five-prong crown he wore;
    And his robe was trimmed with minever--
      His robe of the royal blue,
    For Con was the wonderful conjuror
      In the days when the tricks were new.

    He could pick a rabbit from out of a poke
      Where never had rabbit lain;
    He could pulp your watch like an egg's red yoke
      And could give it you whole again;
    And the king he laughed, "Ha-ha," he laughed,
      Till they thumped on his back anon;
    And the other magicians went dancing daft
      To see the magic of Con.

    Now Con he climbed on a moonbeam grey
      To the dusk of the god's great shop,
    And he stole the Elixir of Life away,
      And he drank it, every drop;
    He poured the draught in a golden cup
      On a wonderful day that's gone,
    And he swilled it round and he tossed it up,
      And that was the curse of Con.

    And the old king died at ninety-six
      And his son he reigned instead;
    But Con he conjured the same old tricks,
      And his hair crow-black on his head;
    And the new king died, and another king,
      And another king after he,
    But Con went on with his conjuring
      The same as it used to be.

    When the fifth king came (he was long of limb
      And a hasty man) he swore,
    When Con he conjured his tricks for him,
      And he kicked Con through the door;
    For that's in the songs the minstrels sung,
      And thus is the story told,
    For "Con," said the king, "you're none so young,
      And your tricks are plaguey old!"

                *   *   *

    Now Con he tramps from shire to shire,
      And he must till the crack of doom;
    He takes the road in the dust and mire,
      And he sleeps in the windy broom;
    He's no address and he's no abode,
      And his jacket's the worse o' wear;
    And I've met him once on the Portsmouth Road,
      And once at a Wicklow fair.

    When the roundabouts and the swings are slow
      And a conjuring chap draws near,
    And there's nothing about his mug to show
      That it's seen five thousand year
    (For that's the way that the songs were sung,
      And thus is the story told),
    You'll know it's Con and he's none so young
      For his tricks are plaguey old.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Retired M.F.H._ "AND WHEN WE CAME TO THE SEVENTEENTH,
JUST AS I WAS GOING TO DRIVE, WHAT SHOULD I SEE BUT AN OLD DOG FOX
STARING AT ME OUT OF THE HEDGE!"

_Sympathetic Friend._ "YE-E-E-S?"

_Retired M.F.H._ "NOW, DON'T YOU THINK THAT WAS A MOST REMARKABLE
THING?"

_Sympathetic Friend._ "WELL, YES, I SUPPOSE IT WAS; BUT THEN, YOU SEE, I
DON'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT GOLF."]

       *       *       *       *       *

From a list of new books:--

     "Woman and Crime (Adam)."

Well, he ought to know.

       *       *       *       *       *

From a pamphlet on "The 'King's Own' Mission":--

  "MADAM ADA BACON,
  Soloist for Easter Sunday Evening.

     Please send some eggs."

The writer has been carried away by the association of ideas. The
singing will not really be so bad as that.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two conflicting announcements from _The Observer_:--

  "VILLA'S VICTORY.
  FOUR DAYS OF FURIOUS FIGHTING."

  "HOW THE VILLA WERE BEATEN.
  LIVERPOOL'S SUPERIOR PACE."

       *       *       *       *       *

EXILE.

"And how long," said the lady of the house from behind her rampart of
breakfast things, "shall you want to be away?"

"Away?" I said. "Who said anything about being away?"

"Well," she said, "if you want to go to all those annual dinners and
things you'll have to go to London, and if you go to London you'll have
to be away from here."

"'Plato,'" I said, "'thou reasonest well.' Helen, pass me the butter."

"Why deny it, then?" said Helen's mother. "If you're going to be away
you're going to be away, and there's an end of it."

"You're wrong there," I said. "There isn't an end of it. I can go away
and come back on the same day. By the last train, you know. The last
train is intended for that very purpose."

"What very purpose?"

"For coming back by the last train. That's what it's there for. Fathers
of families who come back by it sleep in their own beds instead of
sleeping in strange beds in clubs or hotels. Let us sing the praises of
the last train. Rosie, push over the marmalade, and don't upset the
spoon on the table-cloth."

It is not easy to converse with marmalade in one's mouth. I did not make
the attempt, so there was a short pause in the argument. It was resumed
by the lady of the house.

"You'll lose a lot of sleep, you know," she said. "The last train
doesn't get you here till one o'clock in the morning."

"No matter," I said, "I can bear it. The thought of meeting my family at
breakfast will sustain me."

"But you never do meet us. After a last train night you 're always
half-an-hour late, and by that time the girls are gone."

"But you remain," I said. "To see you pouring out coffee is a liberal
education in patience."

"But it's tepid coffee."

"I like tepid coffee as a change."

"And the eggs and bacon are cold."

"Pooh!" I said. "There is always the toast."

"And the toast is limp."

"If," I said, "you are so sure of these discomforts why not order me a
fresh breakfast?"

"And that," she said, "will make work for the servants."

"Work," I said, "is for the workers. Besides the cook will like me to
show an independent spirit."

"The nature of cooks," she said, "is not one of your strong points. No,
I am sure you will do better to stay in London."

"But I can give up my dinners," I said.

"And do you think I could ask you to make such a sacrifice? Old friends
whom you meet only once a year! Certainly you must go."

"But----"

"If you don't turn up they'll put it down to me, and that wouldn't be
fair."

"I don't know," I said, "why you are so keen on my staying in London.
There's something behind this--something more than meets the eye."

"Nonsense," she said, "it's only your comfort; but men never can be
reasonable."

"Dad," said Helen to Rosie, "is going to have a holiday given him."

"Yes," said Rosie; "but he doesn't seem to want it very much."

"And it's not going to be a very long one," said Peggy, who generally
supports my side of the battle.

"And we'll do his packing," said their mother; "won't we, girls?"

"Hurrah!" said Peggy.

"Peggy," I said, "I am sorry to cast a cold shower on your enthusiasm,
but there are limits. You and your mother are great and undeniable
packers, but your ways are not my ways."

"Anyhow," said Helen, "we should do it better than Swabey."

"No," I said, "you would do it worse. Swabey has his faults, but I know
them. He always forgets white ties and handkerchiefs, but these I can
buy, borrow or steal. You would forget white shirts and dress trousers,
which mean nothing to you, but are all the world to me. Swabey packs my
shaving-brush and my safety razor into my dress shoes, where I come upon
them eventually. You would leave them out altogether. I am grateful to
you all for your generous offer, but Swabey shall do my packing--that is
if I go."

It is unnecessary to say that I went. The dinners were, as usual, a
great success. We all became young again in our own eyes, and on the
whole I was not sorry to have a bedroom in London. But why had it been
forced on me against my will? The reason will appear in a letter from
Peggy which I received on the second morning of my compulsory freedom;--

"DEAREST DAD,--We are geting on alright. The maids are now in the libary
and everything has been put somwere else. A lot of your papers got blown
about, but we ran after them and got most of them. Our meels are in your
den. Their going into the dining room direckly. The dust is dredfull and
the dogs don't like it. It is a spring cleening with love from your
loving

                            PEGGY."
                                                        R. C. L.

       *       *       *       *       *

LAID.

    He was no commonplace suburban spook
      Content to rap on table-tops; he cherished
    The memory of days when at his look
      Princes and peers incontinently perished;
    Stuck in his heart a jewelled knife dripped red;
    Flames had been known to issue from his head.

    The Moated Grange, now ruinous and drear,
      He roamed, constrained to bitter self-effacement,
    Until one midnight his enraptured ear
      Detected mortal accents in the basement.
    Downstairs he crept; beside the cheerless grate
    Sat four or five old men in keen debate.

    Softly he chuckled, "Here's a bit of luck!"
      And beat a warning rattle on his tabor
    That once had made the stoutest run amok;
      Then each old boy sat up and nudged his neighbour;
    Calm and collected round the chimney-piece
    They showed no sign of imminent decease.

    In vain he practised all his horrid lore
      And rolled his eyes and beckoned with distort hand;
    In vain his dagger dripped with gouts of gore,
      They only beamed and took a note in shorthand;
    When in despair he loosed his flaming jet
    One smiled and lit therefrom a cigarette.

    That was the end! With agonising shriek
      He turned and fled, the spectral perspiration
    Dewing his brow and coursing down his cheek;
      Fled, and was lost to man's investigation
    (For full discussion of his little tricks
    See Psychical Research Reports, vol. vi.).

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: _Country Host._ "I HOPE THE OWLS DIDN'T DISTURB YOU LAST
NIGHT, LADY JENKINS?"

_Wife of Local Mayor._ "LAW BLESS YOU, NO! I DIDN'T 'EAR ANYTHING. WHICH
DOG WAS IT?"]

       *       *       *       *       *

OUR BOOKING-OFFICE.

(_By Mr. Punch's Staff of Learned Clerics._)

Has Mr. W. J. LOCKE'S hand--the hand that created vagabond _Paragot_ for
tears and laughter, and the resourceful _Aristide_--has it lost its
particular cunning that he should begin his romance of _The Fortunate
Youth_ (LANE) in a mood of heavy and misplaced facetiousness, and drift
by way of Family Heraldry into an atmosphere of sham politics and a
bright general glow of ineffectual snobbery? _Paul Savelli_, the
fortunate youth, with his incredible beauty, his dreams, his
accomplishments beyond all discernible cause, his faintly Disraelian
airs, never once carried me out of my chair. And to what other end is
romance ordained? Nor did his Princess, with her mastery of the easier
French idioms; nor _Barney Bill_, the kind-hearted stage-tramp. Indeed,
I found Mr. LOCKE constantly making statements about his people that
were not substantiated, as about _Ursula Winwood_, the egregiously
competent, the _confidante_ of troubled ministers, bishops and generals.
_Jane_ alone, an early simple friend of _Paul_, I found credible and
charming, and thanked heaven for her sake that _Paul_ married his
Princess. It is indeed a romance gone wrong. Perhaps it is a more
difficult thing plausibly and readily to sustain one's fancy in a modern
setting, with modern folk, than in the fair realm of Tushery with
rapier-wielding demigods. Yet I think that the dead HARLAND and the
living HOPE (himself no mean Tusher) might have brought off their
_Paul_. As a matter of fact, so I believe could Mr. LOCKE; that is just
the pity of it. I merely record the fact that he has not done so.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are, of course, short stories and short stories. On a perusal of
those that Mr. RICHARD DEHAN has collected in volume form under the
title of _The Cost of Wings_ (HEINEMANN), I am bound to record my
conviction that most of them are profoundly unworthy of the author of
_The Dop Doctor_. Few of them even aspire to anything beyond "first
serial" quality; and though there is often present a certain easy
flippancy of phrase it impressed me only as the crackling of thorns in a
pot-boiler. Perhaps the best is the first or title tale, which tells of
a young wife goaded to hard words by her constant anxiety for an
aviator-husband. There is some genuine feeling here; but the climax, in
which the pair decide only to fly in company, was dangerously like the
end of a stage duologue. Moreover, so swift now-a-days is the flight of
time--or the time of flight--that aviation stories very soon come to
sound antiquated. Still, after all, there is at least plenty of variety
in this volume, and it will be hard if, in a collection of twenty-six
brief tales, you do not come upon something to your individual taste.
But one word of gentle protest. I fancy the stage has at last agreed
upon a close time for supposed infants, against whose arrival from India
nurses and rocking-horses are engaged, and who turn out on appearance to
be young persons of mature years. Well, I am convinced that it is high
time for a similar prohibition in fiction. Mr. DEHAN at least has proved
himself far too clever for me to tolerate this threadbare theme, not
very illuminatingly treated, from his valuable pen.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Mr. Anthony Venning_ was a young man of remarkable tact. Taking
advantage of his position as a consultant engineer, at the beginning of
_The Sentence Absolute_ (NISBET), he pocketed an advance commission for
recommending the tender of a certain firm of contractors to the Welsh
mill-owner who was employing his professional services. Whether this
practice is common amongst engineers, as the authoress would seem to
suggest, I cannot say, but at any rate it was hardly to be expected in
the circumstances that _Mr. Venning_ should not fall in love with _Mr.
Powell's_ extremely beautiful daughter, or that the boilers in _Mr.
Powell's_ mill should hesitate in the fulness of time to explode. But
the lover had the native good sense to be present at the moment of the
inevitable catastrophe and to be the only person seriously damaged; and
since it was his first real lapse from the paths of rectitude, and he
was otherwise amiable, athletic, presentable and brave, who shall
complain if, after confessing in a manly way and being put into a state
of thorough repair, he found happiness in the end? Miss MARGARET
MACAULAY tells her story in a pleasant enough way, and describes with
some skill its idyllic setting (for _Mr. Powell_ was first a country
squire, and only secondly a manufacturer); but since she neither
indulges in satire, social and economic speculation, nor any pretence of
subtlety in psychological probings, there is a curiously old-fashioned
air about her novel. And when I mention that _Mr. Venning_ and _Miss
Powell_ were actually cut off by the tide on a treacherous reef of the
Cambrian coast it will be realised that _The Sentence Absolute_ is a
book for one of those softer moods in which we do not desire to be
startled or stung to profound meditation on the meaning of life.

       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: OUR CURIO CRANKS.

THE MAN WHO TAKES EVERY OPPORTUNITY OF ADDING TO HIS GALLERY OF HATS OF
FAMOUS MEN.]

       *       *       *       *       *

I hope that Mr. VAUGHAN KESTER, author of _John o' Jamestown_ (HODDER
AND STOUGHTON), is innocent of intent to do the dreadful thing that he
has done. With the book itself I have no fault to find; it is quite a
good historical novel, and tells with a fair amount of excitement the
story of _Captain John Smith_ and the early settlers in Virginia, not
omitting _Pocahontas_. Mr. KESTER'S crime consists not in his novel, but
in the fact that he has probably plunged America into all the horrors of
a new outbreak of historical fiction. A few years ago every adult in the
United States was writing historical novels. Those were the black days
at the beginning of this century, still spoken of with a shudder from
Maine to Tennessee. Gradually the horror spent itself; the country
became pacified. Except for an occasional sporadic outbreak, the plague
was stamped out. It got about that the historical novel was "a dead
one," and young America turned to something else. Now you begin to see
what Mr. KESTER has done. While Messrs. HODDER AND STOUGHTON are
publishing _John o' Jamestown_ over in England, another firm is flooding
the States with it. Mr. KESTER is a confirmed "best-seller" on the other
side of the Atlantic. Probably his American publishers have issued a
first edition of a hundred thousand of this story. The result may be
imagined. Wild-eyed literary agents will carry the fiery cross
throughout the country, crying that the historical novel is not dead
after all, that there is still money in it; and thousands of estimable
young men who might have been turning out quite decent stories of
American life will thrust paper into their typewriters and begin, "Of
the days when I followed my dear lord through many a hard-fought fray it
ill becomes me, plain rude man that I am, to speak...." And it will be
Mr. KESTER'S fault. It would not matter so much if the great army of
American writers could do the thing even half as well as he has done it
in _John o' Jamestown_; but they cannot. I know them, and that is why a
great trembling runs through me so that I can scarce hold my pen to
complete this review.

       *       *       *       *       *

The name of Mr. GORDON GARDINER is unfamiliar to me; but I have little
doubt that if _The Reconnaissance_ (CHAPMAN AND HALL) is a first novel
its author will improve upon work that struck me as at present somewhat
ingenuously conventional. There are two parts to the tale; the first
shows how _Leslie_ earned popular applause and the V.C. by remaining
with a wounded comrade whom he was actually too frightened to leave.
That was a good beginning, and I said to myself that Mr. GARDINER was of
the right stuff; he had a vigorous, incisive style that suited well the
matter of pain and anguish that he had in hand. But, alas! in its hours
of case the story became much more uncertain. All the characters,
including the involuntary hero and the man he rescued (now a lord), turn
up at an hotel on the Lake of Como. There is some mild word-painting
that may remind you pleasantly of pleasant places; and a
disproportionate pother because in one of the sudden lake storms
_Leslie_ dashes for shelter into what he supposes to be his own bedroom
(actually the heroine's) and is imprisoned there by the sticking of a
shutter. An awkward incident, of course, especially as it occurred in
the dead of night, but scarcely enough to make half a novel out of.
Naturally, in the end _Leslie_ owns up about the heroism, and goes away
to justify his unearned credit upon the stricken field; but I am afraid
I must confess that the prospect of his return left me indifferent. I
understand that _The Reconnaissance_ originally appeared in _The Daily
Telegraph_; this being so, the persistence with which its characters
quote extracts from _The Times_ savours almost of filial ingratitude.
Seriously, the first part of the novel was a promise which the second
left unfulfilled. Mr. GARDINER is still in my debt.

       *       *       *       *       *

TO THE CABINET.

(_Suggested by a recent doctoring of "Hansard."_)

    The judgment of the People's "Yea" or "Nay"
      Wherefore should virtuous men like _you_ shun?
    You are--or so you confidently say--
          Prepared for dissolution.

    Then snatch a hint from HALDANE'S little fake,
      Who glanced with eye alert and beady at
    His speech in proof, and, for appearance' sake,
          Added the word "_immediate_."

       *       *       *       *       *

     "The very clever may bethink themselves of Milton's 'subject of all
     verse.'"--_Reynolds' Newspaper._

The mere well-informed will bethink themselves of BROWNE.





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